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Jakarta Post

Is Indonesia a camel-wannabe, a ‘pandamel’ or a panda in denial?

  • Julia Suryakusuma

    The author of Julia’s Jihad

Jakarta   /   Wed, April 1 2020   /  01:29 am

Does a virus have a nationality? United States President Donald Trump has a fixation with this. He refers to the coronavirus as being the “Chinese virus”, as it was first detected in China. It encouraged a spate of anti-Chinese and even anti-Asian racist acts in the US. Sad!

Beyond Americans, Twitter saw a 900 percent increase in hate speech toward China and Chinese because of the coronavirus.

Even without the coronavirus, we Indonesians have been pretty racist toward the Chinese, despite their many contributions to the nation: capital, world recognition in badminton, batik, food and even aspects of our wayang tradition. In fact, so much that we think of as quintessentially “Indonesian” bears the mark of Chinese influence – even Islam.

Most Indonesians associate Islam with Arabs, and look to the Middle East for the roots of their religion. But the spread of...